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Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Inspect Your Tires Before Hitting the Road
Government Agency Reminds Motorists That Underinflated or Old Tires Can Cause Accidents
Tires that are worn out, under-inflated, or old can raise the risk of a serious crash during hot weather, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said recently.
NHTSA Administrator Nicole Nason urged motorists to have tires, including the spare, inspected before embarking on a vacation journey to reduce the risk of a crash.
"Protecting you and your family should be your top priority," Administrator Nason said. "Getting your tires checked will significantly reduce the likelihood of a tire-related crash."
According to NHTSA research, hot weather – and overloaded vehicles – can add major stress to a tire, especially if it is not properly inflated. Also under greater stress are old tires, which increase the likelihood of failure with disastrous results.
Tire condition is important for all vehicles, but even more critical for vehicles more prone to rollover when tires fail. Included in this group are sport utility vehicles (SUVs), pickups or other vehicles with a higher center of gravity.
You can check your tire’s air pressure with an inexpensive gauge, using the vehicle manufacturers’ recommended inflation, which can be found in the owner's manual or on the driver's side door pillar.
You can assess the age of your tires by checking the identification number on the sidewall that begins with the letters "DOT". The week and year the tire was manufactured are represented by last four digits.
Recommendations for replacing tires that range from six to ten years of age have been issued by some tire and vehicle manufacturers. For specific guidance, owners should check with their tire or vehicle manufacturer.
"Remember that it is vitally important to check your spare tire too," said Administrator Nason. "Your spare can be a real safety hazard if it is old or under-inflated."
For more information on proper tire care, along with NHTSA's tire rating guide, visit www.safercar.gov.
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